Everyone should have a system for paying and filing bills because these can help in tracking expenses, monitor investments, check the money that you save and avoid missing due dates. Here are some tips to oganize your bills and files properly:
- Don’t leave your bills unopened. Make sure that as soon as your bills arrive, you open them immediately. This is to avoid forgetting them and missing its due date. Always mark the payment date on the envelope, or log the due date on your calendar once you get your bill. Then, put all pending bills in a bill holder, which can be anything from a filing tray, an envelope, or a basket – on your desk.
- Use an “In” box. This can also be either an envelope or a tray. It is where you put your paid bills, receipts, or non-receipt cash payments before filing them. Fit into your schedule a specific time and day to record these expenses in a notebook or in a spreadsheet in your computer.
- Find space and time. To prevent misplacing your bills, find a space for them together with other materials you need like pens, papers, calculator, and checkbook. When you designate a day each month to pay for your bills, you avoid making several trips to the bank or payment center.
- Record your paid bills. After paying your bills, record them immediately before filing them separately. This enables you to accurately track all your expenses. As with your non-receipt expenses, you can also record your bills in a notebook or a spreadsheet.
- File away. You may use white envelopes and label them on a monthly basis. You may also clip the receipts according to their category such as meals, clothing, gas, and groceries. Another way is to keep a separate envelope for receipts that you can use for tax purposes, insurance documents, and long-term files such as medical payments and mortgage.
- Keep your records. An accordion-type envelope should do the trick when filing your records. Organize files by category and label each separator on the accordion file. You may categorize them as fixed expenses, which include rent, tuition, mortgage, and loans; or “variable expenses” such as electricity, water, and groceries. Don’t put too many items in the “Miscellaneous” category to avoid “hiding” your expenses. Generally, bills that are over six months old are considered outdated. For filing purposes, only keep home bills within the last four months.